Senior Services and Caring Connections (courtesy photo)

The City of Alexandria’s senior population has grown to over 22,000 individuals – and more than 5,000 of these seniors live alone! Working in partnership with the Division of Aging and Adult Services, Senior Services of Alexandria delivers more than 48,000 meals to our community’s homebound seniors annually, providing this critical service 365 days a year.

The current Meals on Wheels delivery system is the “eyes and ears” of the community, often coming to the aid of a client in crisis. However, it is not designed to be more proactive in serving seniors who live alone with chronic medical conditions or those who have been recently discharged from the hospital and are at risk of being re-admitted because of medication issues, a fall, or inadequate nutrition. To meet this need, SSA, with more than 15 years’ experience delivering food to seniors, is implementing a bold mission through Caring Connection; a new sister program to Meals on Wheels that will serve the City of Alexandria’s most vulnerable seniors.

“It’s heartbreaking when a volunteer arrives at a client’s home to find them ill, injured, or in need of urgent medical attention. As the senior is hurried off in an ambulance, volunteers and family members are left to ask, ‘What could have been done?” said Mary Lee Anderson, Executive Director of SSA.

The Caring Connection offers daily meal delivery beyond the standard Meals on Wheels program to provide personalized health and safety checks. This exciting new program will be managed by dedicated staff as an additional service for the senior community. Through this exciting expansion, SSA expects to double the number of clients it serves in the first year alone.

Senior Services of Alexandria has raised $200,000, more than 88% of its $230,000 campaign goal. SSA announced the public phase of the campaign during a campaign steering committee meeting held last week.

Gerry Cooper and Kerry Donley, who are serving as Caring Connection campaign Co-Chairs, have asked for the community’s support to help by providing the remaining $30,000 still needed to end the campaign successfully and launch the first phase of implementation.

With the support of the community, the “Caring Connection will add the essential element of daily health monitoring for seniors who may already enjoy some of these aforementioned services but who are home recovering in the immediate days and weeks after undergoing a recent hospital procedure when they are at their most vulnerable.   Nothing we could undertake as the public caretakers of Alexandria’s seniors could be more worthwhile than this daily Caring Connection” said Gerry Cooper, Campaign Co-Chair

“I am happy to support the Caring Connection campaign sponsored by Senior Services of Alexandria.  This effort is directed at vulnerable senior citizens who were recently hospitalized and will provide health assessments in addition to nutrition as part of their home recovery.  Our goal is to assist them in their recovery and to avoid re-hospitalization and to do so through compassionate and effective services,” said Kerry Donley, Campaign Co-Chair

Senior Services of Alexandria aims to fully develop, pilot, and implement the new Caring Connection program in three phases over the next two years. By the end of 2019, all three phases will be fully implemented and the City of Alexandria will have the critical Caring Connection for its at-risk seniors. Once Caring Connection is fully operational, it will be sustained by ongoing financial commitments from partner healthcare organizations.

Named by the Catalogue for Philanthropy as “one of the best small charities in the Greater Washington region,” Senior Services of Alexandria was founded in 1968 with the mission to foster independence and self-sufficiency in seniors, enabling them to age within the City of Alexandria with dignity. SSA is the only private, non-profit agency that provides programs and services for all older residents of Alexandria. SSA is a 2017 Winner of a “Best Practices Award” by the Commonwealth Council on Aging and is a GuideStar Platinum participant.

Campaign Steering Committee members include:

This new program would not be possible without the support of our Campaign Steering Committee:

Mr. Gerry Cooper, Co-Chair Mayor Kerry Donley, Co-Chair
Willie Bailey Warner Moore
Laurie Blackburn Gregg Murphy
Lynwood Campbell Kitty Porterfield
Kristin Eagan Arvette Reid
Jack Fannon Donna Shaw
Jane Foote Jen Walker
Deborah Matthews

To make a donation to the Caring Connection campaign, please call (703) 836-4414 or visit: www.seniorservicesalex.org/caring-connection.